April 20, 2016 at 10:38 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
UK issues LGBT travel advisory for N.C., Miss.

North Carolina, gay news, Washington Blade

The British Home Office has issued a travel advisory that warns LGBT travelers who are traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The British Foreign Office issued an advisory on Tuesday that warns travelers about anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina and Mississippi.

“The U.S. is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country,” reads the advisory. “LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi.”

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last month signed House Bill 2, which prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and bans municipalities from enacting anti-LGBT nondiscrimination measures. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on April 5 signed House Bill 1523, a sweeping religious freedom measure that critics contend would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

LGBT rights advocates and an increasing number of businesses have criticized McCrory and Bryant.

Bruce Springsteen and Tracy Morgan are among the celebrities who have cancelled concerts and other appearances that had been scheduled to take place in North Carolina and Mississippi. New York and several other states have banned official travel to the two states over HB 2 and HB 1523.

“What’s happened in Mississippi and North Carolina proves that equality is never secure,” Matt Horwood of Stonewall, a British LGBT advocacy group, told the Independent newspaper on Tuesday. “It’s positive to see the U.K. government recognize this need and update its travel advice pages accordingly.”

Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb said in a statement that it is “both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation’s staunchest allies has warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials.”

“It is now more clear than ever that these terrible measures are not only harming individuals and taking an economic toll on the states, but are also causing serious damage to nation’s reputation, and the perceived safety of LGBT people who travel here,” he added.

The British Home Office notes on its website that roughly 3.8 million British nationals visit the U.S. each year.

American Airlines has three non-stop flights a day from North Carolina — Charlotte Douglas and Raleigh-Durham International Airports — to London’s Heathrow Airport. There are no direct flights from the U.K. to Mississippi.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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